Unite union meets Sharp over hundreds of Wrexham jobs

Solar panels Sharp began making solar panels in Wrexham in 1984

Related Stories

The Unite union has held talks with Sharp after the electronics firm revealed plans to cut hundreds of jobs at its Wrexham solar panel plant.

Sharp said it was cutting 250 jobs and not renewing 365 agency workers' contracts in an announcement on Monday.

The company said the decision affecting its Llay factory was "unavoidable" given trading conditions which "left Wrexham's output uncompetitive".

Unite said its priority is to offset or reduce redundancies.

Union representative Brian Apsley, and other union members, held their first consultation meeting on Thursday afternoon.

Mr Apsley said the union's first priority was to talk about off-setting or reducing redundancies, though he added the decision already appears to have been made regarding the solar plant.

Unite also wants to ensure, he said, that union members are properly looked after throughout the process.

The union claims it had not been consulted on the plans.

Mr Apsley said the closure of the solar panel line was relayed to staff before Unite was informed.

"I don't regard that as proper consultation," he said.

Warning signals

He added that although there may have been warning signals when the government cut the feed-in tariff subsidy, the closure announcement still came as a shock.

The factory, near Wrexham, will cease solar panel production in February.

Sharp said its European solar business was being transformed to ensure "regeneration and long-term growth".

Hiroshi Sasaoka, of Sharp, said: "It is with sincere regret that we have decided to end solar panel production in Wrexham.

"Our employees are our greatest asset, and we have been fortunate to have a loyal, hardworking and committed workforce since we began solar production here in 2004.

"The Wrexham facility will continue to produce microwave ovens, and we will be investigating additional products for development."

The Welsh government has offered its support to people facing redundancy.

Sharp opened its factory in Wrexham in 1984 and is one of the town's biggest employers.

In 2004, it began manufacturing solar panels for both residential and commercial installations and two years ago it expanded production following a boom in the industry.

Sharp also created a training facility for solar panel installers.

However, it stopped any further expansion when changes were made to government subsidies paid under the feed-in tariff to householders in late 2011.

The company said there was the possibility the factory may develop other products on the site in the future.

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC North East Wales



Min. Night 16 °C

Features & Analysis

  • Dr Mahinder Watsa Dr Sex

    The wisecracking 90-year-old whose advice column is a cult hit

  • Payton McKinnonKilling heat

    Why so many American children die in hot cars

  • Vice-President Joe Biden.Joe v Hillary

    What needs to happen for Biden to be the next president

  • USA fanSoccer punch

    Has the US finally fallen in love with the beautiful game? BBC Sport

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Kyoto.Falling for Kyoto

    Acclaimed writer Pico Iyer describes an enchanting first stroll through the city


  • (File photo) Usain BoltClick Watch

    Challenging the world's fastest man to a virtual race over 40m – can you keep up?

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.